View from the O-Zone: Top (defensive) dogs

20170303Bench.jpg


INDIANAPOLIS – They went back-to-back on the podium Saturday, as may well be the case again in late April.

One was no more impressive than the other, though Texas A&M pass rusher Myles Garrett and Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen undoubtedly showed different personalities during their 2017 NFL Scouting Combine podium appearances Saturday.

The question for the Jaguars regarding what some believe the two best players in the 2017 NFL Draft: will either be available at No. 4 overall? Check back in late April.

Both players made their combine media rounds Saturday at the Indiana Convention Center, and the No. 1 question for both came as no surprise.

Who should be the first player selected?

"I should be," Garrett said, smile wide. "I feel like I'm the best player in the draft. I feel like I'll prove that today and tomorrow."

And would it be important?

"It would show I'm top dog – at least from the beginning," he said. "Once I'm in the NFL, I can't just hang my hat on that. I have to keep on rising."

Garrett's personality Saturday matched his reputation: confident, outgoing. He was prepared for the questions, including one about a video earlier this offseason in which he asked the Dallas Cowboys to move up in the draft and select him No. 1.

It was the sort of harmless thing kids in their early 20s do, and the sort of thing that gets overplayed before the draft. It won't likely hurt Garrett's draft stock, and won't likely keep the team holding the No. 1 selection, the Cleveland Browns, from using it on Garrett.

Still, the topic likely will come up when the Browns meet with Garrett at the combine. Garrett said he believes that meeting will happen Saturday evening.

"I'll explain then," he said.

And what will he say?

"I'm sorry," he said, smiling.

Allen, who spoke before Garrett Saturday, speaks in a more reserved manner than Garrett, and seems to choose his words more carefully. While Garrett long has been projected as the No. 1 player in the draft, Allen is widely considered a Top 2 or 3 player. Still, NFL Media Analyst Mike Mayock – one of the most respected draft analysts – said earlier this week Allen has to be considered there, too.

Allen on Saturday also was asked about going No. 1 overall.

"There's always competition in everything you do," he said. "I want to go as high as I can, the competitor in me. But I want to make myself a better football player and control what I can control. (I am) not going to worry about anything else.''

He also addressed his most pressing combine issue, having made news this week when it was revealed he has arthritis in his shoulders.

"It's not really a problem now, but it might be a problem 15-to-20 years down the road," he said. "I'm not worried about that right now. I'm just worried about playing good for whatever team I go to. I have no restrictions.

"This is probably the best I've felt in four years. I feel good, recharged and ready to go."

He also was asked if he was lifting at the combine to show people his shoulder was OK.

"A hundred percent," he said. "A hundred percent."

Allen talked a lot Saturday about what makes him worth a Top 5 selection. He emphasized versatility and technique.

"I can do a lot of things," he said. "If you want me to rush from the three-technique, I can do it effectively. If you want me to bend the corner from the outside, I can do it. I can play the run. I can do double teams. I can play above the tight end. I can play the six-technique and get off blocks.

"I feel like I can do anything that I'm asked to do on the defensive line."

The Jaguars-related question when it comes to Garrett, Allen and the slew of other defensive players who spoke to the media Saturday is just who might be available at No. 4. This is a good defensive draft, even beyond Allen and Garrett. Many analysts have mocked Louisiana State safety Jamal Adams to the Jaguars at No. 4, and there is starting to be some buzz for Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas there.

There is buzz for Allen there, too, buzz that warms and cools based on what quarterbacks people project into the Top 3. There's little question the more quarterbacks gets pushed into the Top 3, the better for the Jaguars.

Realistically, the answer to the question posed earlier in this post -- will either be available when the team selects No. 4 overall in late April? – is different depending on the player. Garrett at No. 4 is unlikely, though few analysts thought Jalen Ramsey would be available when the Jaguars selected No. 5 last year.

Allen at No. 4 is more realistic, and the thought here is he a good kid who appears absolutely ready for all that comes with being a Top 5 selection.

Will that happen? Or will this duo go back-to-back again in late April, too early for the Jaguars to acquire either player? Check back in seven weeks.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Advertising